Archive for Thursday, February 19, 2004

County rep won’t seek re-election

February 19, 2004

During his tenure, Third District County Commissioner Joe Daniels has presided over everything from an exotic animal ordinance to a special use permit for a nudist camp.

Throw in meetings to discuss the annual budget, meetings with local cities to discuss planning and the day-to-day grind of managing a county with 70,000-plus residents, and it's understandable how someone could get burned out.

In an interview this week, Daniels, following through on his vow when he was elected in 2000, said he would not seek re-election this year.

"I felt like I could make a contribution and do a few things," Daniels said. "I feel the things I wanted to try and do, I have."

According to the Leavenworth County Clerk's Office, no one has filed for candidacy for the third district seat, which covers the county's southern portion including Basehor and Tonganoxie.

If needed, a primary election will take place Aug. 3 for the vacant seat. The general election is set for Nov. 2.

Historically, the third district seat has seen consistent

turnover in representation. Since 1980, no one has held the seat for more than one term, according to the county clerk's office.

In his campaign, Daniels laid out the groundwork for his county commission agenda. He sought to improve the quality of life for county residents while maintaining a steady tax rate, encourage business development, ensure quality public services, implement the county's comprehensive plan, concentrate on road and infrastructure improvement and hire a county administrator.

Four years later, Daniels said some goals have been accomplished, some have not, and that coming years would determine the outcome of others. A common focus during his tenure was to see Leavenworth County develop "but retain the country atmosphere as much as we can."

In the third district, balancing the needs of residents in favor of progress and those seeking to maintain their current lifestyle can be difficult, Daniels said. The third district, the county's southern portion, is booming with residential and commercial development, and it's a high-wire act at times to weigh disparate opinions on the subject, he added.

"I understood how diverse the issues are that come up day-to-day," Daniels said. "There's the old saying that everyone likes progress but nobody likes change, and to a degree that's true."

Daniels said throughout his term he's carefully considered the opinions of everyone and voted on issues the only way he knows how -- by doing what he thinks is right for his district, his county and its residents.

"You just have to sort through it and figure out what is good for Leavenworth County," he added.

Daniels said he attempted to "guide development," and to limit negative aspects of development to nearby property owners.

"People want to freeze time and say no more," he said. "We can't do that, but what we can do is make development pay for itself and not burden the taxpayer.

"As we develop, we're going to have to accept change but still pay attention to people and make it so those properties developing provide the least negative impact on anyone else."

As to the future of Leavenworth County, Daniels said managing, improving and building roads and infrastructure to support business would be vital. Also, aiding and supporting economic development along the corridors of U.S. Highway 24/40 and Kansas Highway 7 is paramount.

If handled correctly through planning, Daniels said the future could be bright for Leavenworth County. He points to continued residential development and the county's expanding population as examples.

Daniels said he's enjoyed public service and looks forward to finishing his term on the Leavenworth County Commission. But, don't expect to see Daniels' name back on a ballot anytime soon.

"Being in emeritus status has some appeal right now," he said.

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